NEW YORK -- Bernard Hopkins traded in his ski mask for a brown knit hat at his postfight news conference shortly after midnight on Sunday morning.
His alter ego, the Executioner, was gone, Hopkins explained.
Still, it was the rediscovery of his old Executioner attitude that had allowed the 48-year-old Hopkins to dismantle 31-year-old Tavoris Cloud by unanimous decision on Saturday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
Hopkins captured Cloud's IBF light-heavyweight title and surpassed his own mark as the oldest boxer ever to win a world title.
Four days before his win, Hopkins had refused to speak at a news conference as he wore the ski mask, sunglasses and a black hooded sweatshirt in his Executioner persona.
"The Executioner and Bernard Hopkins are not the same people," Hopkins said in his postfight news conference. "The Executioner does not care about anybody. He comes in, he has a job to do, and he leaves."
But the Executioner mentality helped Hopkins fight with confidence and get in Cloud's head with taunts and facial expressions.
Always a strong defensive fighter, Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 knockouts) used combination punches to keep Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) off balance. A strong left hook in the sixth round opened a cut above Cloud's left eye and allowed Hopkins to control the pace.
Hopkins may attempt to unify the light-heavyweight division the way he did more than a decade ago as a middleweight. Among his options are WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) of Wales and Canadians Jean Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs) and Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KOs).
Bute and Pascal are expected to fight in late spring. Hopkins defeated Pascal by unanimous decision in 2010.
Hopkins said he wants to continue making history.
"That's the mind-set I have to be in from here until I retire," Hopkins said. "Seriously, you are going to see the Executioner against whoever I fight."
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